Have you taken any vacation or PTO during the pandemic? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. A recent survey conducted by JSG indicates that 66% of people haven’t taken any time off throughout the pandemic. It can be challenging to justify taking time off with everything going on in the world right now – tight on funds, unemployment, difficulties traveling, limited activities available, etc. However, forgoing your vacation time starts to take a significant toll on your work productivity and happiness. Despite the virus, here is why you should take PTO during the pandemic.
The side effects of not taking PTO right now
It can be discouraging to take PTO given our current global pandemic. However, there are so many side effects of not utilizing your PTO, especially if you are working remotely. In fact, professionals working from home have an average workday that is 48.5 minutes longer than those working from the office. When working from home, the lines between work and home are easily blurred, making it difficult for you to unplug from your job. As a result, employee burnout is at an all-time high.
To mitigate this, you should be utilizing some of those PTO days that you have worked hard to earn. Even if it’s just a day or two, utilizing your vacation days will help lower stress, improve mental health, boost productivity, and increase job satisfaction. Harvard Business Review found that employees that use at least ten vacation days each year are 30% more likely to receive a raise. Plus, those who take regular vacations have higher job satisfaction. Obviously, this is easier said than done for many workers. Sometimes you feel that you have too much work to take time off, or maybe your manager is very approachable when it’s time to request some PTO days. Regardless of your situation, it is crucial for your health and quality of work to take time off, especially with all the extra stressors in each of our lives.
What can you do with those PTO days right now?
Besides financial reasons, the biggest excuse for not using some of those PTO days is the lack of activities to do right now. Sure, you may not be able to book a 7-day trip to Maui during the pandemic safely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your time off to unplug from work and relax.
You don’t have to have an elaborate plan to enjoy some time away from work. You can go on a camping trip, go for a hike, take a day-trip to the lake, go for a long drive, or even just take a day off to do some yard work around the house. Whatever you decide to do, plan it in advance. It will give you something to look forward to and help you keep that motivation up!
Just be sure to unplug from work. Set an out of office message for your email and try not to check your phone. You will return with a better attitude, less stress, and a boost in motivation.